CHITRAL: The five-day Chilim Jusht spring festival of Kalash people concluded here on Sunday. The event remained a low-key affair due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The chief event of the concluding ceremony was singing and dancing in the charsu (the central dancing place) in Bumburate valley. Hundreds of Kalash girls and boys wearing masks danced in groups for hours in their traditional way.

Earlier, the traditional procession was taken out from a nearby grassy ground, where people from different villages of the valley had assembled.

The number of participants was low in the concluding ceremony as the people coming from the other two Kalash valleys had been confined in their valleys by their elders in view of the pandemic.

Malakand division police chief Abdul Ghafoor Afridi also attended the concluding ceremony.

The police and Chitral Levies had blocked the roads leading to the valleys to stop entry of people, including foreign tourists, to the area.

Talking to Dawn, Wazirzada, special assistant to chief minister, said the festival heralded the arrival of spring season. He said keeping in view the festival’s significance, the government had allowed its celebration at limited level under strict standard operating procedures to help contain spread of coronavirus.

Mr Wazirzada said some of the rituals had been skipped or shortened to ensure that minimum of people attend them. He said each participant wore mask.

He said the festival would formally conclude on Monday in Birir valley with a small ceremony. However, he said the concluding ceremony in Bumburate was the major event of the festival.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021

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